Congressional Republicans unveiled legislation on Tuesday that would establish a new office tasked with enforcing the ban on affirmative action and strip federal funding from universities that engage in racial discrimination.
Titled the College Admissions Accountability Act, the legislation from Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) would create a special inspector general’s office within the Department of Education to enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling on Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, which found that considering race in the admissions process violates the 14th Amendment.
The proposed legislation, which was first reported by the Free Beacon, comes as several universities have indicated that they may not comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling. “Following the Court’s ruling, several American colleges and universities issued statements or unveiled new policies at odds with its letter and spirit,” the legislation states. “Institutions of higher education, including their offices of admission, must comply with the Constitution and laws of the United States, as interpreted by the judiciary.”
Columbia Law School initially stated that they would require applicants to submit a video as part of their application in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling before backtracking after critics noted it might be “a willful effort to evade the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.”
Other institutions responded to the ruling by modifying their essay prompts to inquire about applicant’s “cultural background” and “lived experience,” as well as their beliefs on diversity and inclusion. Some universities, like Babson College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst admitted that the prompts were created in direct response to the ban on affirmative action.
“Every student in America is entitled to equal protection under the law, regardless of their background,” Vance contended before adding “This bill creates the means necessary to enforce the Court’s decision and hold colleges and universities accountable for illegal discrimination on the basis of race.”
In addition to creating the Office of the Special Inspector General for Unlawful Discrimination in Higher Education, the legislation would also pull federal funding from universities that violate the Supreme Court’s ruling and engage in racial discrimination. The potential punishments would also address discrimination in “financial aid determinations” and “academic programs.”
The office created by the legislation would exist separately from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, giving applicants and employees a new means by which to file discrimination claims.
“The federal government has given the universities free rein to discriminate against white and Asian students” remarked Chris Rufo, the conservative activist who spearheaded the fight against Critical Race Theory and now serves as a trustee at the New College of Florida. “Senator Vance’s proposed legislation will put a stop to this.”